I thought I’d heard of everything until on Friday night my brother told me to hurry out into the garden with my camera because he had been clipping the garden hedge when suddenly a Sparrowhawk (Accipter nisus) lunged out of the sky and attempted to carry off his garden shears! My first reaction was he must be losing his marbles, but then, he said the sparrowhawk had dropped to the ground after making its attack, looking stunned. It was now watching him from the top of the fence! Surely he had to be wrong? But, incredibly, it was still there, and still watching him. I managed to get several photos!
I got close enough to see that the sparrowhawk was almost certainly a young male, quite a bit smaller than a female. About the size of a Collared Dove, but far more robust. I attempted to edge closer for a better shot but, annoyed by my presence, the sparrowhawk flew into a neighbouring garden. I went back into the house and my brother continued clipping the hedge, and then he suddenly came to the door and said “He’s back! He’s watching me!”
Incredibly, the sparrowhawk was now perched on a neighbour’s house and was watching my brother working with his shears, possibly considering another attack. Clearly the sound of the shears was encouraging the hawk. I took several still photos and some video and edged closer as darkness approached. The sparrowhawk decided to fly off at that point. And if you doubt any of this please look at the video I took, below, showing the hawk actually watching my brother at work. You will not be disappointed.
In the early hours of this morning we had a super full moon, which is when the moon is much closer to earth than usual, making it appear bigger. And, as most readers will know, we also had a full eclipse of the moon, the first of a super full moon since 1982 apparently. This is how it looked from Wicklow, in a series of photos I took over the few hours of the eclipse:
A shadow then began to cross the moon diagonally from upper left to lower right.
Soon the shadow almost crossed the entire moon surface.
Gradually the re-emerging of the moon becomes more spectacular, but the eclipse is drawing quickly to and end and soon the moon will be as it was before the eclipse.
In the summer of 2018 we are to have another lunar eclipse, but apparently it will be very early in the evening on one of our long July days so it might be some time before the right conditions occur again. Last night was a cool (3.5 degrees Celsius) and clear cloudless night so I was a very lucky eclipse photographer indeed.
Well, I don’t want to distract anyone who’s strudying for their exams, but just in case that study takes place near the seashore, or with a good vantage point across the sea, you might spot one of these rare creatures. And it’s a predator too, specialising in herring and other small shoal fish. So what is this monster? It’s an Oarfish (Regalecus glesne), and it is every bit the sea serpent, or water dragon.
Oarfish are seen by trawler crews at this time of the year, and as far north as Norway where they pursue the herring shoals. So keep your binoculars and cameras handy. A truly amazing creature you might see while the sea is calm and clear. The nearest thing to a dragon that is known to science. I suspect it may even be the inspiration for the Chinese dragon.